Holder proposes changes to mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders

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  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 8:14 p.m.

    Kalindra said "Of course, the biggest conflict with mandatory drug laws is the discrepancy between amounts of crack cocaine (28 grams) and powder cocaine (500 grams) that trigger the sentence."

    Easy answer even Orrin Hatch will attest to (see fugees). Poor dirty people use crack, but our precious celebrities, athletes and wealthy use Cocaine. just like wall street steal millions, get fined maybe a couple years in a prison with no fence and a golf course.

    Weldon Angelos, the son of a Greek immigrant, was accused of selling marijuana to a police informant on several occasions worth a total of $350; the witness stated that Angelos had a firearm strapped to his body, but no photographs or evidence existed other than his testimony,[1] and Angelos never used or brandished his gun.[2]

    The judge in the case, Paul Cassell (of the U.S. Court for the District of Utah) sentenced Angelos to 55 years, but said he had no choice but to do so and urged President Bush to commute the sentence, calling it "unjust, cruel, and irrational", noting the sentence is much more than the minimum for hijacking, kidnapping, or rape.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 13, 2013 12:20 p.m.

    @ Badger55: Nice picking and choosing what you quote.

    The amounts you cite are for a 10 year mandatory term. The five year mandatory term has much lower amounts - still probably more than the average weekend pot smoker will have in his or her possession at one time, but low enough to catch someone other than a hard-core dealer.

    Of course, the biggest conflict with mandatory drug laws is the discrepancy between amounts of crack cocaine (28 grams) and powder cocaine (500 grams) that trigger the sentence.

  • Badger55 Nibley, Ut
    Aug. 13, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    Be careful what you wish for...drug dealers in federal prison are not dope smoking addicts. They are hardcore dealers. Example:
    To be prosecuted under federal law(except when on federal lands) a person has to be in possession of
    1 Kilo or more of heroin
    5 Kilos or more of Cocaine
    1 Kilo of PCP
    1000 kilos of Marijuana(2200 pounds)
    I would venture to say that the common dope smoker will never see 2200 pounds of Marijuana in their lifetime.

    People pushing this much garbage are not just junkies looking to get high. They are a the bigger fish that need to be caught and locked up. It is amazing that people would actually want these guys on the street.
    Dealers and criminals in general would much rather go to state court because of the minimum mandatory sentencing incurred by the federal system. take that away and it will embolden dealers everywhere.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Aug. 13, 2013 2:13 a.m.

    I'm a Republican who voted for Romney, but I have to say, I agree with AG Holder on this one. Mandatory sentences for drug offenses has not proven to be a deterrent.

    Instead, many young people who for one reason or another make the mistake of getting involved in drugs are then forced to spend the best years of their lives in prison rather than in drug treatment.

    The entire system of sentencing drug offenders needs to be overhauled. We're letting too many rapists, sex offenders and con men out of prison early because our courts and prisons are swamped with drug cases, most of them involving simple drug possession.

    I'm not sold on the idea of legalizing drugs, but our government needs to move the issue of drugs further away from the criminal aspect and closer to the health aspect.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 3:23 p.m.

    I wonder how many of holder's family and associates are sitting behind bars on drug convictions? I suspect he has personal reasons - I souldn't be surprised if he's looking to reduce the consequences of what he plans to do after he leaves the office he has so completely disgraced.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 12, 2013 12:55 p.m.

    Prepare for the world to end, I actually agree with something Mike Lee is involved in.

    @ 2 bits: Mandatory drug sentences have proven to be ineffective. Drug Court and treatment, on the other hand, have been proven to be effective - and they cost less.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 12:33 p.m.

    Holder nationally, and Sim Gill locally, are on the same page on this one. They want less drug offenders in prison, and more drug offenders on the streets. I don't see why we keep electing these bozos.

  • allrelative Seminole, FL
    Aug. 12, 2013 10:20 a.m.

    What a surprise to hear. It's not often I can agree with Holder. A stopped clock....
    Legislature should not be in the business of arbitrarily handing out sentences to people they know nothing about. If our government would follow the constitution, we wouldn't have such patently unjust laws on the books in the first place. I will give credit where it is due. Congratulations to Mr Holder calling for justice where is sorely needed.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    The time has come to repeal ridiculous laws and replace them with common sense.
    Lets save prison space for violent offenders not an adult with a doobie!

    It's humorous how day after day, certain posters repeat the same poorly constructed conspiracy theories as fact in any article that mentions politics, even when they've been repudiated many times.

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 12, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    It's better to comment on an idea instead of the person voicing an idea. We lock up to many people in this country, more than any other country. His idea is a good one. Hope the sentencing system is reformed.

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    More thugocracy from eh most corrupt administration ever.

    Obama's entire regime picks and chooses which laws they will enforce and then select individuals who will escape punishment for breaking laws passed by the legislative branch.

    This is a clear violation of the principles of our government. Laws are passed and penalties prescribed by legislative action. The executive branch's job is to enforce those laws. All of them, all the time. They can urge Congress to change laws if they like, but for Eric Holder to refuse to enforce our laws is no different from those who choose to break the laws he is not enforcing.

    Voter intimidation by New Black Panthers is sanctioned. Thousands of guns illegally transferred to Mexican drug gangs. The IRS harassing political enemies. The FEC harassing political enemies. Yes, there are real crimes being committed, probably more serious than non-violent drug crimes, but Holder is not prosecuting them either. Indeed, Obama's cronies seem to be committing more crimes than are being prosecuted.

  • Beverly Eden, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    Even a blind hog finds a chestnut once in while. For once, Eric Holder has a good idea. Eliminating mandatory prison sentences for drug offenders is a good idea. It cost more to lock someone up in America than it does to send a deserving person to the University of Utah. Calling judges "liberal" and taking away their sentencing judgement has got politicians reelected, but in the process has filled prison with non-violent drug offenders. Mandatory sentencing has almost bankrupted California. We need to put violent criminals in prison - not drug offenders. When the law mandates a prison sentence, judges have no other course of action. If they don't send drug offenders to prison, the judge is in violation of the law. It has been foolish to take away a judge's ability to sentence criminals to punishments the judge's experience and knowledge deems best.

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    Aug. 12, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    Crime and punishment IS Holder's job. M-man's timely reminder comes a little late for past AG's like Mitchell and Gonzales.